G13 Operating a community grain bank

Food Security
  • Successful grain banks need to obtain large amounts of good quality grain at harvest time. Make sure that stored grain is kept dry and free of pests. Grain must be stored in waterproof buildings which are secure from thieves.
  • When local grain prices begin to rise, and grain supplies fall, the bank can make grain available.
  • Successful grain banks provide food at fair prices at the times when families need it most. This means farmers will not be forced to work for cash just when they need to spend time on their own land preparing for the next harvest.

Discussion

  • Grain banks need to target carefully who their customers will be. They should not provide cheap grain to market traders or anyone else who may wish to sell the grain and make a profit.
  • Long before the grain bank opens its doors, the committee members must decide on how grain prices will be set, on the amounts to be sold, on who can use the bank and how often.
  • The profit made each year by a successful grain bank should be used first to pay back loans or credit and for any necessary repairs. The remainder should be banked so that it is available ready to purchase grain next harvest.
  • It is a good idea for grain banks to try to build up a small fund to cover their expenses during years when the harvest may be so good that people use their services less.